When the new General Assembly convenes next week Missouri legislators will be asked, again, to pass a bill aimed at ending bullying in schools.
Representative Sue Allen (R-Town and Country) has filed her anti-bullying legislation for several sessions, but it didn’t get much attention last year, largely because she didn’t want it to be bogged down by the same debate as it had been in previous years.
“Basically the bill was stuck,” Allen told Missourinet.
The issue has been whether such a bill should enumerate, or specify groups that are protected from bullying based on things like sexual orientation, race, or religion. Several Democrats, particularly Senator Jolie Justus (D), wanted such specificity in the bill.
Allen doesn’t want it. She says having a list risks leaving someone out. Her proposals instead takes a blanket approach, saying it protects, “any student without exception,” and that, “Policies shall treat all students equally.”
“I’m not gonna get into discussions about which group is more precious than another group,” said Allen. “They’re all precious.”
Senator Jamilah Nasheed has filed a similar bill in the Senate.
Stories on past years’ legislation:
Lawmakers discuss status of bullying issue